“Full House” actors among those sent to jail for participating in scheme Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulliand “Desperate Housewives” star felicity huffman, Instructors at schools including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown University and the University of California, Los Angeles admitted to accepting bribes.
“It was a plan that was breathtaking in its scale and audacity. It’s literally become the stuff of books and made-for-TV movies,” Assistant US Attorney Stephen Frank told the judge on Wednesday.
The prosecutor called Singer’s cooperation with the case “unique”, but it was also problematic, noting that Singer admitted to obstructing the investigation by telling several of his clients who were under government scrutiny.
Defense attorney Candice Fields said Singer took great personal risk by wearing a wire to record the meetings and did “whatever was necessary” to assist the government in its investigation. Fields had requested three years’ probation, or if the judge deemed jail time necessary, six months behind bars.
Singer apologized to his family, the schools he embarrassed in the public eye, and others. He also promised to work every day of his life to make a positive impact in the lives of people.
“My moral sense was distorted by the lessons my father taught me about competition. I accepted his belief that embellishing or even lying to win was acceptable as long as the victory was there. I should have known better,” he said.
Singer pleaded guilty in 2019 – the same day the massive affair became public – to charges including conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Dozens of others eventually pleaded guilty to the charges, while two of the parents were convicted at trial.
Authorities in Boston launched an investigation into the scheme after Executive under investigation for an unrelated securities fraud scheme told investigators that the Yale soccer coach had offered to help his daughter get into the school in exchange for cash. The Yale coach led the authorities to Singer, whose cooperation exposed the entire scheme.
For years, Singer paid entrance test administrators or proctors to inflate students’ test scores and bribed coaches to designate applicants as recruits to increase their chances of admission to the school.
Coaches in sports such as soccer, rowing, and tennis took bribes to pretend to recruit students as athletes, regardless of the player’s ability. Fake sports profiles were created to make students look like stars in sports they sometimes didn’t even play. The bribes were usually given through Singer’s fake donations, allowing some parents to disguise the payments as charitable donations and deduct the payments from their federal income taxes.
According to prosecutors, Singer took more than $25 million in kickbacks from his clients, totaling more than $7 million in bribes, and used more than $15 million of his clients’ money for his own benefit.
“This defendant was responsible for the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the higher education system in the United States,” prosecutor Frank told the judge on Wednesday.
The harshest punishment had been done before the singer Former Georgetown Tennis Coach Gordon ErnstWho was jailed for 2 1/2 years for accepting bribes in excess of $3 million.
Punishments for the parent range from probation to 15 months behind bars, although the parent who received the prison sentence can while he appeals his sentence.
One parent, who was not accused of working with Singer, was acquitted of all charges stemming from allegations that she had bribed Ernst to get her daughter into school. and a judge ordered a new trial for the former University of Southern California Water Polo Jovan Vavic, who was found guilty of taking a bribe.
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